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Remembering the little souls on Truth and Reconciliation Day in Red Deer

Public invited to Sept. 30 event
Raye St. Denys, with Shining Mountains Living Community Services, stitched together quilt squares that are part of the community blanket to be unveiled on Friday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

A community blanket will be officially unveiled at a Truth and Reconciliation event — Little Souls Journey Home — at City Hall Park on Friday.

Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which was first held in 2021, and recognizes the tragic legacy of residential schools.

Raye St. Denys, Shining Mountains Living Community Services executive director, said most First Nation, Métis, Inuit communities and families would make blankets for their young children. But residential school children never received that cultural comfort.

“They never had that opportunity, so we’re making a community blanket for those little souls,” said St. Denys as she stitched together the blanket’s fabric quilt squares decorated by community members.

“There’s some beautiful artwork. They’re all very different,” she said about the symbols and pictures on the squares being joined together with orange backing and black trim.

She said residential school children, those who died and those who survived, need to be acknowledged.

“One hundred and fifty thousand children were taken into those institutions and only 75,000 came out. Alberta had more schools than any other province in Canada. We had 25 schools here.”

She said the blanket will be displayed at local community organizations in the coming months before going to other communities. Its final destination will be the cultural interpretive centre Métis Crossing.

Little Souls Journey Home is a public event, that runs from 1 to 3 p.m., organized by Shining Mountains Living Community Services in partnership with Urban Aboriginal Voices Society and Métis Local 492.


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Truth and Reconciliation activities are also happening at Red Deer Polytechnic this week.

The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre’s exterior lights will display colours in honour of Red Deer Polytechnic’s Truth and Reconciliation Week.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the building will have red, yellow, blue, black and white lights to demonstrate respect for the enduring relationships with Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Métis Nations. Orange lights on Wednesday, and Friday are to help bring awareness to the residential school’s tragic and painful history.

In addition to educational opportunities for students and staff throughout the week, a public Indigenous Flag Raising Ceremony will be held Thursday at 12 p.m. at the flag pole near the facility’s front entrance.


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Red Deer Native Friendship Society hosted a free, public event Family Friendship Night in recognition of Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Pioneer Lodge.

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Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic will be lit up this week to recognize Truth and Reconciliation Week at the the post-secondary. (Photo from Facebook)